OLYMPIC REVIEW39 OLYMPIC CONGRESS A thletes are the most important and recognisable symbols of, and advertisement for, the Olympic Movement. It is the feats achieved by the likes of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, as they strive to realise the Olympic motto " Citius, Altius, Fortius", which more than anything else, inspire people of all ages - but youngsters in particular - to take an interest in the Movement, as well as the first steps to participating in sport and seeking a healthier, more active lifestyle. As IOC President Jacques Rogge has stated, athletes are at the centre of the Olympic Movement. " Athletes are our ' raison d'être' - from meeting their training needs to ensuring perfect playing fields and smoothly- run Games, and helping them launchnew careers after they retire," he said at the 119th IOC Session in Guatemala City, two years ago. The relationship between ? THEME 1
40OLYMPIC REVIEW OLYMPIC CONGRESS Olympic athletes, clubs, federations and NOCs involves important responsibilities on all sides. While athletes must ensure they fulfil their obligations to their clubs - not to mention act as role models to the next generation of Olympians - the various bodies are also bound by a duty of care to their athletes. While existing protocol already covers many key areas relating to those relationships, there is merit in re- evaluating such frameworks from time to time to ensure that the best interests of the athletes and the different organisations are adequately met. One way of doing this is to ensure that the health and general welfare of the athletes is paramount. Education and awareness about treatment, prevention and anti- doping policies are all important in ensuring the physical and psychological safety of athletes. All sporting organisations and personnel involved in the lives of amateur and professional athletes need to be equipped with the information to educate and advise athletes on health- related issues. Athletes must also be given access to continued education and training throughout their careers in order to ensure that they are successful in any field of their choosing after their sporting careers have come to an end. Special attention must be given to younger athletes who must be made aware of safety in training and competition. Parents have a significant role to play in protecting and nurturing their children's physical health. An athlete's social and professional welfare is also of the utmost importance. As such, athletes should be provided with the tools they need to both perform in, and prepare for life after, elite competition - ensuring as stable and seamless a transition as possible between these two very distinct experiences. The Olympic Movement has the duty to explore how existing structures and programmes can be further strengthened to assist athletes with the professional and social lives, both during and after their careers. ¦ Barrigue Pursuing your studies I have made a university professor my pacesetter!